When we wake up in the morning, often our first thoughts are of agenda, to-do lists, body aches, resentment at how early it is or a rolodex of all that we don’t have in this life. This mindset is preparing our minds, hearts and bodies for nothing but confrontation throughout the day: you are preparing yourself for war! War against time. War against your children or your partner. War against the unknown. Exhausted yet? And you just woke up!
Instead of waking up and preparing yourself for war, I invite you to wake up and prepare yourself for love.
Here is how you can wake up every day and prepare your heart, mind and body for a day full of love instead of war.
- Gratitude first: Train your brain to wake up and practice gratitude as its first thought of the day. At the beginning, this will take overriding whatever first thought pops into your head. Instead of, “Oh, man, it’s way too early and my back hurts,” change the voice to say, “Oh, I have some extra time this morning to make my coffee slow or a few extra minutes to be in relationship with my partner or child!” Then, go down a quick list of what you’re thankful for: the opportunity to make an income, your family, your friends, your talents. Whatever it may be, show gratitude for the having of those things today. Nothing is guaranteed to be on your list tomorrow.
- Don’t anticipate your demise. You are not heading into work or into your day or into a conversation walking into the total destruction of you! Instead, anticipate love. Imagine that you’re walking into learning opportunities, moments of relationship with others, and interaction with community and nature. Your day does not require you to be on guard. If you’re feeling unsafe—feeling the need to be on guard—at work or at home, it may be time to make some major shifts in your life. Walk into your day expecting love!
- Notice your gifts. Your 30-minute commute to work is an opportunity to catch up on that podcast you’ve been wanting to enjoy. Your lunch break is the opportunity to move your body and take in deep breaths. Noticing your gifts will lead you naturally toward gratitude.
- Set aside of the feelings around your burdens. Don’t fight it every day: allow time for that burden to settle when the time is right. We feel something is a burden if we’re harboring some kind of resentment toward something. Perhaps you feel you don’t make enough money or don’t have enough time for your children. Those burdens will only start to compound on each other. I am not suggesting you ignore what feels like a burden— in fact, quite the opposite. I suggest you examine them. But you don’t have to fight or prepare to fight that battle every day. Once you know you’re upset about your pay or your schedule, start working toward changing that in your life, but don’t complain about it every day. I am suggesting for you set aside your feelings about dealing with your burdens until its their time to be dealt with and, instead, see the self-learning opportunity this burden is providing you. Burdens can be gifts because they can lead to freedom if you notice and take action with them.
- Give up your idea of control. Where are you convinced that you have control in your life? Do you feel exhausted having to man that booth? We have very little control, and admitting that can feel scary or overwhelming at first, then you’ll feel free. We can only do things, say things, feel things, think things, and those are powerful options. But there will always exist X factors that we have no control over. Learning how to be flexible will allow you to practice open-heartedness to the unknown!
- Practice curiosity. It’s a beautiful practice to wonder. Get curious about who is in your life and why. Get curious about comments people say and why. Get curious about the flow of your time and energy throughout the day. Get curious about why your boss is your boss. Get curious about raindrops on flower petals. Simply ask yourself questions. The practice of getting curious helps entertain your mind with beautiful ideas and images. This practice helps remind us that there are a million other processes happening around us every moment, and it allows us to experience everything on a deeper level. Curiosity leads to insight which leads to love.
- Trust the boundaries you’ve set for your emotional, mental and physical well-being. If you haven’t set boundaries that protect your well-being, first do that. When you wake up in the morning, you want to know you don’t have to take on the day on guard because your boundaries are set; the only thing you have to do now is be kind and communicate clearly throughout the day. If you have blurry boundaries, clarify them. These boundaries are set so that you do not have to enter every day explaining yourself. If you’re having to reinforce your boundaries every day with someone, this is a sign that person should not be in your life: if they are having a hard time respecting your boundary, they are not respecting you.
- Place what you love into your day. When you make time and opportunities to interact with what you love throughout your day, then you know—at some point—you’ll run into what you love! A great cup of coffee, good music, enlightening poetry, a well-produced podcast. It doesn’t matter what it may be, the point is you’ve set up access points or opportunities to tango with what you love, simply for you!
- Stop preparing to deprive yourself: Ensure your needs are being met. Walking into your day preparing to miss meals or hurry through meetings or depend solely on caffeine is not practicing self-love. How many times have you heard, “I’m surviving only on coffee right now!” And people say that proudly? You are depriving your body of nourishment, fuel, energy, potency. When you are preparing for a day of love, that means you are preparing for a day to show love to your body. Pack snacks. Eat slowly. Drink water. Notice everything you’re doing for and to your body.
- Notice love. Don’t fear love. Don’t brace against it or immediately question its intention. When you see it being given from someone—accept it, acknowledge it. Notice love around you (hugs, kisses, holding hands). Notice love in your inbox (someone checking on you, offering to assist you). Notice love from your friends, your family, your colleagues. Thank them for the showing of their kindness.
Some people may dismiss this idea of preparing yourself for love. They’ll roll their eyes and say, “You can’t live life with rose-colored glasses on!” But you can. You absolutely can. Your mental, emotional and physical health will thank you.
Stop preparing your heart, mind and body for war, dear one. You deserve far more than carrying that energy with you all day.
Sheena Jeffers is a Wellness Life Coach helping clients design balance, boundaries and flourish into their daily lives. Schedule a session with Sheena today and watch your life change!